Advanced Reporting Syllabus

Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:45 a.m.
CIS 1021

Instructor Jeanette Abrahamsen
JeanetteAbrahamsen.com
@JnetAbrahamsen
Jabraha3@usf.edu
813-838-7333
Office CIS 3081-A. Hours by appointment.

Prerequisites:

JOU 4201 Minimum Grade: C (may be taken during same term), and JOU 2100 Minimum Grade: C, or RTV 3301 Minimum Grade: C, and PHI 1103 Minimum Grade: C, and POS 2041 Minimum Grade: C.

Course Description

This course will prepare students for a career in a quickly changing media landscape. This course will teach students how to create a multimedia website with engaging video, social media and AP style stories. Students will conduct interviews, enhance stories with multimedia and use search engine optimization to promote digital content. We will delve deeper into complex reporting techniques like investigations and analysis. Students will use context to craft stories with greater meaning and impact. Students will also use innovative technology to create augmented reality presentations.

Objectives

  • Students will develop new multimedia skills, create multimedia content to showcase those skills to prospective employers, collaborate with media organizations to add accomplishments to their resume and network with media professionals.
  • Students will use good news judgment to report on multimedia stories that people actually want to watch, read and listen to.
  • Students will use a variety of mediums to craft and promote engaging and compelling content on digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  • Students will shoot beautifully composed and well-lit videos with clean audio.
  • Students will edit videos using Adobe Premiere Pro and efficient mobile video editing apps like Videolicious.
  • Students will produce content that complies with journalistic principles of ethics, fairness, accuracy, attribution and balance.
  • Students will think critically to accurately apply basic numerical, statistical and visual concepts, including how to obtain, analyze and visualize data for storytelling.
  • Students will conduct research and evaluate information by methods appropriate to communications professionals.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of diversity.
  • Students will learn about media conglomerates and understand what that means for the future of print and digital publications.

Required Technology
Students will be required to shoot HD videos and photographs on smartphones. Students will check out tripods and lav microphones from the CIS video lab to refine their video and audio production. Students can also check out additional equipment from USF library’s digital media commons (http://www.lib.usf.edu/dmc/). Students will have access to the Adobe Creative Suite on classroom and library computers. USF students also get free access to Adobe products on their personal laptops while they’re enrolled. If you haven’t already downloaded the Adobe Creative Suite I highly encourage you to do this. You can download it here after you log in with your net ID: http://software.usf.edu/creative-cloud-for-students. If you have any issues with your download you can call the help desk at 813-974-1222.

 

Required Text
You are required to have an Associated Press Stylebook. I suggest using the online version because it’s easier to search. I recommend also subscribing to the Associated Press StyleGuard to help you correct AP errors. https://store.apstylebook.com/ap-styleguard.html 

There is no required textbook for this course. Instead, you will be required to listen to podcasts, watch videos and read news articles. Most of this content is posted on jeanetteabrahamsen.com. I also encourage you to read the Tampa Bay Times and the New York Times.

I expect you to read my Twitter posts. I share relevant news, tools and tips about journalism and digital media @JNetAbrahamsen. You are not required to read every article in full, but I will expect you to at least read every tweet. 

Grading

Multimedia Projects 40%
WUSF Plant City Project 10%
YouTube views 10%
Florida Focus 15%
Participation 15%
Final Portfolio Website 5%
Quizzes 5%

A+     97-100
A       93-96
A-      90-92
B+     87-89
B       83-86
B-      80-82
C+     77-79
C       70-76
D+     67-69
D       63-66
D-      60-63
F       59 or less

Multimedia Projects – 40%
Students will complete five multimedia projects. All projects are broken down into three steps, so I can help you improve along the way. You must show me your work prior to submitting the first step of each project so I can suggest improvements.

Students will write five AP style stories. For each story, students will shoot and edit a 1:20 video that helps tell their stories. Students will also submit a professionally framed and lit image used for WordPress featured images and thumbnails on YouTube videos. Students will embed social media posts. Students will also create animations, graphics and infographics.

Covering sporting events is off limits. USF Athletics already does this, so your stories would be redundant. You are encouraged to intern with USF Athletics if you’re interested in creating multimedia sports content.

Anyone featured in your stories must sign a video/photo release form. You will submit a digital copy on Canvas. Originals must be handed to your professor. Submissions without video/photo release forms will receive a zero.

You will also be required to promote your stories and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You will be graded on your SEO, headline writing, hashtags and tagging. Your posts will also be evaluated on how compelling the media is. Does your post make people want to click?

Projects:

  1. 3D Lab Explanatory Story
  2. USF Alumn Feature Story
  3. Innovative Ed Feature Story
  4. Hillsborough County Neighborhood Story
  5. Final Story

Your project grades are broken up as follows:

Multimedia Projects step 1 = 100 points each

You will submit a Word doc with the following in this order:

  • USF Box app URL of 16:9 video. 1:20 minimum.
  • Video thumbnail: JPG of your best and most relevant screen grab from your video or 16:9 graphic that we will use on YouTube.
  • SEO headline for YouTube video title.
  • AP style web story that will go in the YouTube video description. 500-word minimum.
  • Tags (keywords that people might search for if they want to find your story). Your tags must be separated by commas and include: Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications, USF, Advanced Reporting, and your name.
  • Name of the YouTube playlist your video should be filed under (like Explore Tampa Bay, USF Stories, Community Stories, Health, Events and Entertainment, Food, etc.)

You will also attach a video release form in the Canvas submission. Forms must be 100 percent filled out and legible. I suggest typing these out instead of writing by hand, except for the signatures.

Multimedia Projects step 2 = 50 points each

You will revise and resubmit your content from step 1. You will receive feedback from the News Editing class. You will also receive feedback from me. You are expected to adjust your content accordingly and fix any errors before submitting step 2.

If your revision is publishable, I will post your video, headline and AP style story on YouTube and paste your URL in the Canvas submission comments with your grade. You will use this URL for step 3.

If your revision is not publishable, I will not post your video on YouTube. That means you will automatically lose 50 percent on step 3. You will also have a harder time reaching your YouTube views goal which will be tallied at the end of the semester. You are encouraged to revise your video and publish it on your own YouTube channel to improve your grade in step 3.

Multimedia Projects step 3 = 100 points each

  • URLs from Digital Bullpen and your personal WordPress posts that include:
    • SEO Headline.
    • Video embedded from Zimmerman School Digital Network at USF YouTube channel.
    • Revised AP style story 500-word min.
    • Featured image (different image than YouTube thumbnail).
  • URL from your personal WordPress social media page that contains:
    • embedded tweet
    • embedded Facebook post
    • embedded Instagram post

WUSF Plant City Project – 10%

Our class will work with the WUSF journalists to produce a Florida Matters radio show that will air on Tampa’s NPR affiliate. This semester, our focus will be on Plant City. You will do research on the community and interview a diverse group of people to tell a well-rounded story of Plant City. There are several components of this project. You will conduct pre-interviews, interviews at an event, shoot/edit videos and write an AP feature story.

YouTube Views – 10%

You will be graded on how many views your videos generate on the Zimmerman School Digital Network YouTube channel. I am an admin on this YouTube channel so I can read your video analytics. This means the views have to be organic and unique. Views on your personal accounts will not be counted.

Participation – 15%

Attendance and participation are mandatory. In addition to writing, video and social media assignments, you will be required to pitch story ideas and participate in discussions. You will watch your classmates’ videos, give constructive criticism and praise. This should inspire you to try new tools and techniques. You should also learn from one another’s mistakes.

You are expected to participate with your classmates on Twitter and Facebook. You will be added to the Twitter list USF Digital Network and the Facebook page USF Digital Network. Here, you can post your work and encourage classmates to view, like and share your videos. This is where you earn digital karma. If you share your classmate’s videos, they’re more likely to share yours. The more views you get on your videos, the better your grade will be. This is not a competition. You are a team, so help one another out. Don’t forget to use the URL from the Z School YouTube channel so your video views count towards your final grade.

You will participate in campus-wide collaborations on media projects. We will visit the WUSF radio station, the USF Innovative Education department, the 3D Visualization lab and the Hillsborough County communications department.

Florida Focus – 15% 

You have an incredible opportunity to add this to your resume: I aired my work in the 13th largest television market in America. This sentence alone can land you a job in media. Do not underestimate the impact this will have on your future.

You will be required to shoot, write and edit a Florida Focus VO at least three times throughout the semester. In addition, if you are interested, Professor Cathy Gugerty is willing to assign you a newsroom or production job like graphic designer, scriptwriter, teleprompter operator or camera operator.

Florida Focus class is Monday-Thursday 2-5 p.m. The news brief airs on WEDQ, one of the largest PBS affiliates in the country. The briefs will also be posted online.

In addition to participating in the production of the news brief, you will be required to embed each brief on your final portfolio website to showcase your skills to prospective employers. You will explain your role in each brief and add this to your resume and cover letter.

Cathy Gugerty will also give you the opportunity to submit a TV news reporter package for consideration to air on a Friday episode of Florida Focus. The video package must be 1:20 with an anchor intro and tag that adds up to 20 seconds for a total of 1:40.

On Canvas, submit a tweet, Instagram or Facebook post with an image, video, or live stream and an SEO headline describing the role you played in the brief that day. Tag Florida Focus, Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications, and me. Even if your video doesn’t make the final version of the brief, you should still post about the brief or your experience.

On Canvas, you will also submit the URL from your Florida Focus Facebook story idea pitch.

This is due by 11:59 p.m. the day the brief airs. Important reminder: since you all have your own due dates, these will not show up as due date reminders in Canvas. You will submit by clicking on the “Assignments” tab in Canvas.

If you need to switch dates, you are responsible for finding a classmate who agrees to switch. You’ll need to email me and Cathy ASAP, CC the classmate who agrees to switch, and include the dates you’re switching.

Quizzes – 5%

Students will complete quizzes to improve AP style and to stay on top of current events. AP style quizzes will require an updated AP Stylebook (subscribe to a digital version on the website, don’t buy a book because books get old fast).

Final Portfolio Website – 5%

Your final portfolio website should include:

  • At least five AP style web stories with multimedia.
  • About me section with a professional and error-free explanation of who you are and why someone should hire you (similar to a generic cover letter).
  • A professional photo of you.
  • Contact info:
    • Your email address
    • Phone number
    • Twitter handle
    • LinkedIn URL
    • Instagram and Facebook are also encouraged but not required
  • You’re encouraged to add a resume, but you’re not required to.
  • I also encourage you to embed a Twitter widget on your site and showcase any other social media platforms. An about me video is also a great idea.

Sale Of Notes / Recording of Class Lectures

Lectures given in this class are the property of Jeanette Abrahamsen. Notes or media may not be sold. Lectures may not be recorded without permission.

Attendance

You are allowed two absences without a medical excuse. If you do not sign the attendance sheet, you will be counted absent. After two absences, any absence requires a medical excuse or points will be deducted from your final grade. Any medical excuse must be turned in the class immediately following the one you miss. Without a medical excuse, each absence beyond two will result in a letter grade deduction off your final grade. If you do not have a medical excuse, you will automatically fail the class after five absences. You are still required to turn in all work on deadline regardless of an absence. No late assignments will be accepted.

USF Policies

FERPA Form
Students will need to sign a FERPA Release Form if they want USF to post and share student-created content on digital platforms like the USF Digital Network, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Academic Integrity of Students

Academic integrity is the foundation of the University of South Florida System’s commitment to the academic honesty and personal integrity of its university community. Academic integrity is grounded in certain fundamental values, which include honesty, respect, and fairness. Broadly defined, academic honesty is the completion of all academic endeavors and claims of scholarly knowledge as representative of one’s own efforts. The final decision on an academic integrity violation and related academic sanction at any USF System institution shall affect and be applied to the academic status of the student throughout the USF System, unless otherwise determined by the independently accredited institution.

Disruption to Academic Process

Disruptive students in the academic setting hinder the educational process. Disruption of the academic process is defined as the act, words, or general conduct of a student in a classroom or other academic environment which in the reasonable estimation of the instructor: (a) directs attention away from the academic matters at hand, such as noisy distractions, persistent, disrespectful or abusive interruption of lecture, exam, academic discussion, or general University operations, or (b) presents a danger to the health, safety, or well-being of self or other persons.

Student Academic Grievance Procedures

The purpose of these procedures is to provide all undergraduate and graduate students taking courses within the University of South Florida System an opportunity for objective review of facts and events pertinent to the cause of the academic grievance. An “academic grievance” is a claim that a specific academic decision or action that affects that student’s academic record or status has violated published policies and procedures or has been applied to the grievant in a manner different from that used for other students.

Disability Access

Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) to receive academic accommodations. SDS encourages students to notify instructors of accommodation needs at least 5 business days prior to needing the accommodation. A letter from SDS must accompany this request. http://www.usf.edu/student-affairs/student-disabilities-services/ 

Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment Reporting

USF is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence (USF System Policy 0-004 ). The USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention is a confidential resource where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to either the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSSR) or the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity (DIEO), unless you request that they make a report. Please be aware that in compliance with Title IX and under the USF System Policy, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, in papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it to OSSR or DIEO for investigation. Contact the USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention: (813) 974-5757. http://www.usf.edu/diversity/title-ix/reporting.aspx.

University Emergency Policy

In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Canvas, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor Blackboard site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, College, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

Religious Observances

All students have a right to expect that the University will reasonably accommodate their religious observances, practices and beliefs. If you observe religious holidays, you should plan your allowed absences to include those dates.

The Writing Studio

The Writing Studio is a free resource for USF undergraduate and graduate students. At the Writing Studio, a trained writing consultant will work individually with you, at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing. Appointments are recommended, but not required. For more information or to make an appointment, visit http://www.lib.usf.edu/writing/. stop by LIB 2nd Floor, or call 813-974-8293.

The instructor reserves the right to make any syllabus changes throughout the semester.

August 20
First day of class syllabus review
Bookmark these sites:

 

August 22
Before class:

In class exercise:

 

August 28

Before class, watch/read:

During class:

 

August 30

Before class:

  • Shoot “About Me” video
  • Save raw video and any other photos/media in a folder
  • Download music for your video that doesn’t violate copyright (https://www.youtube.com/audiolibrary/music)
  • Download free Adobe Creative Cloudon your laptop if you haven’t already done so. This is free for students so take advantage of this while you can. You are welcome to use your laptop or desktop computers in class to edit your videos.
  • If you would like additional Adobe training, you can visit the USF library’s digital media commons and check out their tutorials. I also encourage you to get certified in free Adobe badge workshops.

During class:

 

September 4

Before class:

During class:

 

September 6

Before class, read and tweet about:

During class: Field trip at WUSF radio station. Some of Tampa’s most prominent journalists will give you a behind the scenes tour of a wonderful NPR affiliate right on USF’s campus. We will get tips from journalists about how to be an effective interviewer.

 

Bonus: Network with journalists at a TBABJ workshop on covering the governor’s race and politics CIS 1046 6 p.m.

 

September 11

Submit your WUSF Plant City interview name, title, contact info and why you want to interview them. This person must confirm they will attend the WUSF interview event.

Before class: Submit your “About Me” video. Submit a YouTube link with the video and a jpg screenshot of Adobe Premiere Pro audio levels. Share your video on Twitter and submit a URL to your post.

During class: Watch About Me videos.

September 13

Before class:

During class:

  • We will discuss broadcast news writing, videography, video editing and TV news story forms.
  • Professor Cathy Gugerty will explain your Florida Focus Projects.

 

September 17 – First day of Florida Focus

 

September 18

Before class:

During class: Field Trip 3D Visualization lab

After class:

Submit your pitch for your first multimedia project on Canvas. This will be about the USF 3D Visualization lab.

  • What specifically will you make a video about?
  • Who will you interview? Why? What will you ask them? When?
  • Will your interview be in your video? If not, how will you supplement storytelling without an interview in your video (ex: graphics, animation, voice over)?
  • What will your graphic be about (Promoting the lab as a whole? Explaining what the lab is? Featuring one piece of equipment? Promoting a project being created in the lab?)
  • What will your AP Style story be about?

 

September 20

During class: Tampa Museum of Art field trip

 

September 25

Before class read:

 

During class:

Video rough draft edit day. We will work on your 3D lab multimedia project in class. You will be required to show me your interview and b-roll videos so you have time to re-shoot if you need to. If you do not bring your videos to class, you will lose participation points. You’re welcome to use your own laptop or the classroom computers to edit on Adobe Premiere Pro. In addition to showing me your video, you can also get feedback on your AP story.

We will go over USF’s box app and the workflow for posting your stories and media to your own WordPress website and the Digital Bullpen. If you don’t have a Digital Bullpen account, you will create a username and password before leaving class.

September 27
Before class: Listen and tweet about Lane Write podcast https://soundcloud.com/user-847739924/questions-from-the-audience  Pay special attention to how details enrich your stories. Record audio interviews so you can correctly include quotes in your story. Use your notepad to write down specific details like the brand of cigarettes your interviewee is smoking instead of quotes.

During class: Daylina Miller guest lecture

 

September 29 WUSF PLANT CITY INTERVIEW DAY

October 2
Before class: Step 1: 3D Lab Explanatory Story Due
During class: We will watch your videos. You will take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video.

October 4
Before class: Listen to this podcast: http://www.tampabay.com/news/Today-s-WriteLane-podcast-Narratives-off-the-news_165662386
During class: Social Media
October 9

Before class: download the USF virtual tour and YouVisit apps

During class:

 

October 11
During class: WUSF Plant City story rough draft. You will be required to show me your interview and b-roll videos so you have time to re-shoot if you need to. If you do not bring your videos to class, you will lose participation points. In addition to showing me your video, you can also get feedback on your AP story.

October 16
Before class: Step 1: WUSF Plant City Story Due
During class: We will watch your videos. You will take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video.

October 18
Guest lecture on creating text animations in class. Bring laptops because you’ll be following along on After Effects. Jason Su, Instructional Multimedia Developer, USF Innovative Education. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonsuvideo/

October 23
Before class: read https://www.poynter.org/news/hearts-and-guts-writing-personal-profile
During class: USF Alumn Feature rough draft. You will be required to show me your interview and b-roll videos so you have time to re-shoot if you need to. If you do not bring your videos to class, you will lose participation points. In addition to showing me your video, you can also get feedback on your AP story.

 

October 25

Before class: Step 1: USF Alumn Feature Story Due

During class: We will watch your videos. You will take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video.

October 30
FIELD TRIP: MEET AT THE HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY OFFICE OF COUNTY ADMINISTRATOR. 601 E. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33602

 

November 1
During class: Innovative Ed Feature rough draft. You will be required to show me your interview and b-roll videos so you have time to re-shoot if you need to. If you do not bring your videos to class, you will lose participation points. In addition to showing me your video, you can also get feedback on your AP story.

 

November 6

Election Day

November 8
Before class: Step 1: Innovative Ed Feature Story Due
During class: We will watch your videos. You will take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video.

November 13
Guest speaker TBA

November 15

During class: Hillsborough County rough draft. You will be required to show me your interview and b-roll videos so you have time to re-shoot if you need to. If you do not bring your videos to class, you will lose participation points. In addition to showing me your video, you can also get feedback on your AP story.

November 20
Before class: Step 1: Hillsborough County Neighborhood Story Due
During class: We will watch your videos. You will take notes on my feedback so you can improve or re-shoot parts of your video.

 

November 22 – NO CLASS. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

November 27

During class: Final video rough draft. You will be required to show me your interview and b-roll videos so you have time to re-shoot if you need to. If you do not bring your videos to class, you will lose participation points. In addition to showing me your video, you can also get feedback on your AP story.

December 4, 9 a.m.

Final video due – no revisions (no part 2)

 

December 6, 7:30am – 9:30am
Final video part 3 due During class: We will watch your final videos in class.

Final WordPress portfolio due

 

December 9, 10 a.m.
I will count your YouTube views.

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